MG Motor UK has not, as yet, issued any official photographs of the UK-specification
MG GS – this is a Chinese market model
MG Motor UK has recently announced that the marque’s first-ever SUV, the MG GS, will be launched here in June. The new model, which is reportedly the first of three MG-badged SUVs to be based on the all-new SAIC Motor-developed scalable vehicle architecture dubbed SSA (SAIC Scalable Architecture?), has been on sale in China since May, 2015. Indeed, according to the Dutch-based Left-Lane.com website, a total of 43,678 MG GSs were sold in China during the course of last year.
AROnline readers may have already seen the left-hand-drive, Chinese-specification MG GS on show at MG’s flagship showroom in Piccadilly, London, but the first opportunity the British public will have to see a UK-specification model in the metal will be at the London Motor Show from 6 to 8 May 2016 – and, by then, the competition in the J-segment Compact SUV market will have become ever more intense.
Why? Well, since September 2015, Hyundai has launched an all-new, ix35-replacing Tucson, Volkswagen has revealed the second-generation Tiguan, which hits UK showrooms in April, and Kia has, just this month, started taking orders from UK customers for the fourth-generation Sportage. The latter, in fact, provides a real snapshot of just how hot the J-segment Compact SUV niche is at the moment – Kia Dealers placed almost 1500 sold-orders for the model in the first three days…
Moreover, SEAT’s recently-appointed President, Italian Luca de Meo, revealed his company’s first SUV, the SEAT Ateca, in Barcelona last week. The Ateca which, like the new Volkswagen Tiguan, uses the Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A1 platform, will have a showroom launch here in September. Interestingly, in an echo of MG’s apparent plans, CAR Magazine’s Tim Pollard has reported that the Ateca is the first of three new SEAT SUVs and will be followed by a Nissan Juke-rivalling model in early 2018 as well as a larger Nissan X-Trail competitor – possibly with a seven-seat option – before the end of the decade. The latter may be based on the SEAT 20v20 Concept which was first shown at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.
SEAT’s just-launched Ateca will reach UK showrooms this September
Ford, meanwhile, is expected to announce a facelifted version of the Kuga either before or at this year’s Geneva Motor Show next month – the Kuga’s US equivalent, the Escape, was updated at the Los Angeles Motor Show last November and the European version is expected to feature that model’s revised front-end graphic with a new, wide-mouthed grille and reshaped tail lights.
MG Motor UK will, given the above, clearly have much work to do in order to ensure that the GS can carve out a significant share of the UK market for J-segment Compact SUVs – after all, everyone of the OEMs already mentioned will be equally keen to knock the market-leading Nissan Qashqai off the top step… The company’s UK sales broke the 3000 barrier for the first time in 2015 – a total of 3157 MGs were registered – and the value-focused Pricing Strategy adopted when the B-segment MG3 was launched back in September 2013 was probably a significant factor in the achievement of that objective – commercial logic therefore suggests that MG might well take a similarly aggressive approach when finalising the Pricing Structure for the GS in the coming weeks.
What, then, are the implications of such an approach? Well, an entry-level, FWD Hyundai Tucson S 1.6 GDi Petrol/Manual has an on-the-road price of £18,995 while the top-spec AWD Premium SE 2.0 CRDi Diesel/Auto has an on-the-road price of £32.695. Volkswagen UK has yet to release any pricing information for the second-generation Tiguan, but informed Automotive Industry sources are suggesting that the entry-level price point might be around £23,000.
However, as the Kia Sportage and SEAT Ateca are, like the MG GS, arguably going to be targeted at the sportier end of the J-segment Compact SUV market, they are probably the most relevant benchmarks for the purposes of MG’s Pricing Strategy. CAR Magazine reckons that the SEAT Ateca will probably have a starting price of around £18,500 when the model reaches the showrooms here this September. Meanwhile, the entry-level FWD Kia Sportage 1 1.6 GDi Petrol/Manual has an on-the-road price of £17,995 and the top-spec AWD KX-4 2.0/182bhp CRDi Diesel/Auto has an on-the-road price of £30,710…
The Kia Sportage GT-Line might just be the sweet spot in the range –
at least for retail customers
AROnline does not currently have any more up-to-date information about the UK specifications of the MG GS than that found in our News: Updated – More images of new MG GS SUV released in China story from January, 2015. However, a useful comparison can, perhaps, be hypothetically drawn between, say, an AWD Kia Sportage GT-Line 1.6T/174bhp GDi Petrol/Manual and an equivalent MG GS. That version of the Sportage – which, at least for a significant number of retail customers, may just be the sweet spot in the range – has an on-the-road price of £24,350. MG Motor UK might conceivably pitch a similarly-equipped version of the GS powered by the turbocharged 168bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine mentioned in our previous article at that specific model – if such a GS has an on-the-road price of significantly less than £20,000, the company could be on to a real winner.
Andrew Lowerson, MG Motor UK’s then Product Manager, gave a strong hint that the company will adopt a more for less approach with the MG GS’s pricing when speaking to Automotive News Europe’s UK Correspondent, Nick Gibbs – in an article published shortly after the model’s launch in China at Auto Shanghai last April, he stated that ‘the strategy is to make [the GS] as affordable as possible.” Hopefully, then, the GS’s price will, indeed, be right…
Anyway, any AROnline readers wishing to make their own predictions as to the likely entry-level and top-spec on-the-road prices of the MG GS can do so in the Comments section below – no prizes, though, for anyone who comes up with the correct numbers!
[Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 12:05pm on 16 February 2016 by the inclusion of the penultimate paragraph and the accompanying link.]
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